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The *disenfranchising* meme is wrong.

I’ve seen that term used by more then a few journalists and politicians hostile to the Dion/May pact in Central Nova used to describe the poor 10-11000 Liberal voters who apparently are “disenfranchised” because of Dion’s decision to strategically ask them to support an ally and to remove a Conservative Minister (and one who is the more deserving to be removed for his past behaviour).

As I’ve said to a few people, if you disagree with the move, that’s fine.. but stop using the term “disenfranchising” to describe Liberal voters there.

The dictionary term for “disenfranchising” is : to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially : to deprive of the right to vote

Liberal voters in Central Nova have not been deprived of the right to vote. I think using that as a description of a strategy where a Liberal leader has asked them to strategically vote for someone whom he considers an ally in a riding doesn’t do justice to the term… when you’re using a definition applied to describe what Canadian women, first nations, and ethnic minorities experienced until various times in the 20th century.

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11 comments to The *disenfranchising* meme is wrong.

  • Ryan,

    I’m all for coalition-building, whether it includes my party of choice or not. This, however, is not a coalition. Coalitions take place in GOVERMENT, AFTER the election, once the voters have had the opportunity to exercise their democratic rights.

  • Jeff,

    “People should have the right to vote for a Liberal. Just please don’t actually vote for the Liberal, they suck, you should vote NDP.”

    Please don’t put words in my mouth. I’ve never told anyone to vote for anyone but the party or candidate they agree with. EVER.

  • mushroom

    Scott,

    I am disfranchised.

    In my mushroom patch of inner city Toronto, my Liberal vote means little under the FPTP system. The NDP candidate usually gets in.

  • the voters of Central Nova are free to run as candidates if they want to.

    Will they be able to run as a Liberal?

    As for your argument for PR. I am with you 100%.

    As for party labels, if they didn’t matter the parties wouldn’t use them. As to why it matters whether the person supporting Dion is Green or Liberal, I don’t think you have thought through the implications of that. Does that mean that we can assume there is no difference between the Green’s policies and the Liberals? In that case why bother having Green candidates and Liberal candidates in the other ridings? Why not just run Green or Liberal and be done with it.

  • “this is depriving people of their right to vote as they want to vote”

    It absolutely is not. The voters of Central Nova are free to vote for whomever they want to vote for; the voters of Central Nova are free to run as candidates if they want to. The fact of the matter is, our electoral system creates a disenfranchisement of its own, where Green voters get not a single representative in parliament despite representing about 5% of the population. The only way to circumvent this injustice without changing the system is to make these kinds of deals.

    In our system, you don’t vote for a party, you vote for a local representative. Thus, when people say they want to “vote Liberal” what they really mean is that they want to vote for the candidate who is going to support Stephane Dion for prime minister. In almost all cases, that is going to be a candidate running as a Liberal, but in this case, it’s a candidate running as a Green. And what’s wrong with that? As long as she supports Dion as prime minister, there’s nothing wrong with this. Coalition-building is the norm in modern politics; Canada’s petulantly adversarial system is a bit embarassing, actually.

  • As no liberal is required to follow Dion’s direction, the local level “Disenfranchised” Liberals have the option of running an independant candidate.

    The only people who have the right to whine on this issue are in Central Nova and Dion’s ridding and they all have this right to run as indies.

    So folks stop whining, either Shit or get off of the pot. If you are not angry enough to either run as, or support an Indy, stop complaining about it.

  • “People should have the right to vote for a Liberal. Just please don’t actually vote for the Liberal, they suck, you should vote NDP.”

    What’s wrong with that line of thinking? I don’t think people should vote Liberal anywhere, because they do suck. I just happen to think people should be able to choose for themselves whether or not to vote for a sucky party.

  • This whole thing is more that a little funny really, and by that I mean the NDP line on this issue. To sum up:

    “People should have the right to vote for a Liberal. Just please don’t actually vote for the Liberal, they suck, you should vote NDP.”

  • Can Liberals vote for a Liberal in Central Nova? No. So, while they technically have the vote, what good is it if their choice has been left off the ballot?

  • Is it a right to get to vote Liberal in a federal election? I missed that in the Charter, but maybe that does means they are the natural governing party.

  • I get what you’re saying, here, but this is depriving people of their right to vote as they want to vote. I lived in the U.S. for most of my life and was forced to choose between a right-wing party and a centre-right party–and believe me, that feels like disenfranchisement. (And it’s why I left.)

    Also, if you’re going to ask people to be more exact about their use of language, then you are going to want to stop referring to this as Dion “asking them to strategically vote for someone whom he considers an ally.” If he were simply to ask them to do that, I wouldn’t find it at all objectionable (though admittedly, still baffling), because it would still be up to the voters to comply or not comply with his request. But engineering things so that people can’t vote in the way they’d prefer to is something well beyond “asking.”

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